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La Grande’s Jobin Reed won the 300-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles and the 100 meters at the Pepsi Track Invitational Saturday in Union. (Brad Mosher/The Observer)
By Brad Mosher/The Observer
UNION — Jobin Reed made first place a habit Saturday at the annual Pepsi Invitational track meet.
The La Grande senior won the 100 meters, 300-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles and led off the winning 400-meter relay team.
Reed was named as the top male athlete for his streak of wins that led La Grande to a team victory in a field of 20 teams. With 10 points for each win, Reed added 40 points to La Grande’s 144.5 total.
Enterprise finished second with 111 points, while Union took third (70) ahead of Adrian (47) and Grant Union (38). Vale was sixth (38), just ahead of Elgin (35) and McLoughlin (29). Imbler finished ninth ahead of Cove by one-half point (21 to 20.5), while Ione and Prairie City both scored 20 points. Powder Valley was tied with Heppner for 15th place with nine points, while Joseph was 18th with six points.
Reed led off the 400-meter relay and handed off a lead to Leon Fuller, as his teammates built upon the edge he gave them to grab a 44.93-second victory in the first track event of the day. It gave La Grande the second-fastest 400-meter relay time in the Greater Oregon League.
Later, Reed would add a win in the 100 meters (11.54 seconds) and lead teammate Shay Henderson to a second-place finish (11.62) in the same heat. Reed’s 100-meter time is the second-fastest in the district.
That one-two finish would be enough to allow La Grande to edge ahead of Enterprise in the team scoring after five events — 42 to 39. But that edge would last briefly.
When Reed ran 16.54 for a win in the 110-meter hurdles later in the meet, it closed an Enterprise lead to 10.5 points (85 to 74.5) after 10 events.
By the time he added a 41.59-second win in the 300-meter hurdles, Reed had helped the Tigers pull away to a 32-point lead over Enterprise after 15 events.
The Tigers overtook Enterprise in the team race when Cullen Hancock won the pole vault by clearing 13 feet, 6 inches. That 10-point win put the Tigers ahead for good with a 5.5-point margin (90.5 to 85) after 12 events.
He wasn’t the only Tiger to win Saturday, as Fuller finished with a new personal record of 175-5-1/2 in the javelin. He also led Caleb Woodworth and Micah Fuller to a sweep of the top three places in the javelin — adding 24 points from just one event to the team scoring and giving the team a 114.5 to 85 lead in the team race after 13 events. Woodworth threw 144-8 and Micah Fuller tossed a personal-best 142-2-1/2.
According to La Grande track coach Julie Bodfish, the Tigers were doing well.
Leon Fuller improved his javelin best by more than six feet in the meet. His 175-5-1/2 effort kept him number one in the district and moved him into the top spot among Oregon’s 4A throwers. It also put him among the top 20 throwers in all of Oregon.
Although he was pleased with his new personal best, Leon Fuller said it would take a bigger mark to really get him excited. If he improved again by another 10 feet or more, he said he’d be
Trio leads Outlaws
David Ribich picked up wins in the 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters for Enterprise. Ribich started off with a 4:23.43 in the 1,500 meters — about three seconds off his best time. He won the 3,000 meters in 9:47.66
Falk Thieme gave Enterprise a win in the long jump by one-half inch when he leapt 20-4-1/2 inches to edge Grant Union’s Trent Sohr. Dustin Dean added a third for the Outlaws with a jump of 19 feet.
Thieme added second places in the shot put (42 feet, 1/2-inch) and the high jump (6-0), while anchoring the 400-meter relay team to a fourth (45.78).
Alex Tyler won the 400 meters and finished second in the 200 meters Saturday. He also helped the 400-meter relay team finish fourth.
Cove’s Batty busy
One of the busiest athletes on the field seemed to be Cove’s Brandon Batty, sprinting across the field from the high jump to the discus, then later barely fitting in three throws in the shot put.
When he left the shot put ring, he had the lead in the event with a 41-3 throw. That lead lasted just a few moments until McLoughlin’s Aaron Lefore went 42-1-1/2 for the win and Thieme tossed a 41-1/2-inch in the final round.
Batty did win the discus with a throw of 134-4, but he fell to third in the shot put, and finished in a tie for seventh in the high jump.
Freshman leads Union
Trevor Verhelst of Union won the 200 meters in 23.38 seconds, finished second in the 400 (52.89 seconds) and anchored the Bobcats’ victorious 1,600-meter relay to a 3:39.61 effort.
“It was perfect. It was very cool. It was awesome,” said Union track coach Jay Blackburn after the relay win. “It is pretty tough to beat Trevor. The boys really stepped up in the 4x400. That is the first time I think that the boys have ever won the relay here at this meet,” Blackburn said. “This is a competitive meet and against the bigger teams, it is nice to come away with a win.”
The Bobcats had a lot people step up with crucial performances and needed them to try to keep up with Enterprise, Blackburn said. Verlhelst’s 200-meter time was a new personal record and moved him to third among 2A sprinters this season and best in the district. His previous best was 24.11 seconds for the 200 meters.
Verhelst also moved into second among the district’s 400-meter runners, breaking up a one-two pack by Enterprise atop the event. The freshman from Union moved ahead of Austin Burns in the district’s top-10
In the 400-meter relay, Union came up with the fastest time in the district although they had to settle for third in the meet, behind
“The 400-meter boys (relay) were 15-hundredths away from a school record. Getting third here (as a team) is good,” he said.
“The Enterprise boys have so much talent. They are just loaded with talent, across the board. I think they are ranked number two in the state right now.”
Howes notches new best
Elgin pole vaulter Stephen Howes finished second Saturday after clearing 12 feet for a new personal best and the best mark in the district this year. It also put him in a three-way tie for first among the 2A vaulters.
Elgin coach Kevin Lambert came away from the Pepsi meet impressed by the 800-meter effort Carson Reid put in early in the meet.
“He gave the La Grande guy a race and he stepped up. It was his third race in less than 48 hours. It was really neat to see that,” Lambert said.
“He really came through for us — running almost exactly his PR as he did Thursday when he was fresh.It was unfortunate he didn’t win that race like I hoped he would, but he still ran an insanely good time for being as tired as he was,” Lambert said.
Reid set his personal best of 2:08.80 in Thursday’s ICUE meet, then followed it with a 2:10.93 effort in the meet Saturday. Reid battled with La Grande’s Noel March for the lead in the first lap, then held the lead briefly before Union’s Kenneth Sipp took the victory in the final yards of the race.